A win and a loss for the Nottingham Panthers this weekend as they travelled to the Glasgow Clan and then hosted Belfast Giants respectively.
A cruising 3-1 victory over the Clan was then dampened by a 3-5 loss to the Giants.
The results see the Panthers remain in 6th place of the Viaplay Elite Ice Hockey League, unable to close and make a dent in the 14 point gap to Coventry Blaze, although the Panthers do have a game in hand.
The weekend began with the Panthers travelling up to the Braehead Arena on Friday night, it’s a long way so it was important the Panthers returned with something to shout about.
It was a debuts for multiple Panthers including goaltender Peyton Jones, making his first start in between the sticks and defenceman Albin Lindgren making his first appearance too.
Duggie Lagrone and Craig Moore missed out for the Panthers through injury.
Nottingham took the early lead in the fourth minute when Matthew Myers setup Brett Welychka who calmly slotted home for the Canadians 25th goal of the season.
Pressure continued and Lindgren smashed the post, whiskers away from netting a debut goal for the Panthers.
At the other end it was Jones’ turn who made two crucial saves to keep the Panthers one goal to the good.
In the 21st minute, Mike Hammons found himself infront of an empty net to tap home the Panthers second after David Levin’s great pass put the Clan’s netminder in no man’s land.
Moments later, Glasgow answered back as Dyson Stephenson blasted into the top corner to reduce the deficit to one.
Jones continued his impressive debut in the third period making an outrageous save on John Dunbar from point-blank and against Steven McParland on the breakaway to keep the panthers in the the lead.
In the 57th minute, Panthers broke away and secured the winning goal as Myers shot across goaltender Muse found the bottom corner.
Speaking to Panthers TV after the game, head coach Corey Neilson said: “I thought the effort was there, there were times in the offensive zone that we controlled the puck really really well and gave them some problems.”
When asked about the debutants, Neilson said: “I thought he [Peyton Jones] was excellent and made the saves we needed him to.
“Albin [Lindrin] was excellent as well, saw a lot of quality from him moving the puck, yeah I was impressed with both them games.”
“One more’s the streak, that’s what they say, yeah we’d like to start stringing some wins together.”
The Panthers then returned to Nottingham in a buoyant mood, ready to host the Belfast Giants back home at the Motorpoint arena.
The Panthers were defeated 5-3 in a thrilling match where the quality of the Giants was simply to good for the Panthers to keep in touch with.
It was a stunning comeback from the Giants and the Panthers will be devastated they let this match slip away from them.
The Panthers steamed into a three-nil lead but the Giants countered and Great Britain’s all-star, Scott Conway scored the game winner for Belfast in the third period.
The Motorpoint arena erupted as the Panthers took an early lead when Stephen Anderson buried a rebound past Tyler Beskorowany in the fourth minute.
— The Nottingham Panthers (@PanthersIHC) January 21, 2023
Nottingham were flying and their second came from Brett Welychka, he found the top corner after being assisted by Israeli, David Levin.
Ferrera then fired the Panthers into a three goal lead early in the second period when the Panthers capitalised on the powerplay.
That was all from the Panthers and it was all Belfast from here on out.
Mark Cooper got the Giants first of the comeback when he tipped-in a shot from Matt Foley in the 26th minute.
Cooper got his and the Giants second, cutting inside from the left and beating Panthers netminder Beskorowany.
By the 39th minute, the Giants were level and it was comeback complete. Belfast’s new signing Grant Cooper slid the puck under Debeau.
Five minutes later Conway put the Giants in a 4-3 lead and the Panthers were dumbfounded.
The Giants extended the lead to two goals when Lake wrapped up the game with an empty netter in the 58th. Game over.
The Panthers return to action next Saturday and will hope to make amends for their disaster on Saturday night in Manchester against the Storm.
Then on Sunday, Glasgow Clan visit the Motorpoint Arena, with tickets on sale now.